Warnings: Gory images, suicide, and religion. No bitching.

Clarity

by danse


I took the elevator up, twelve floors. An old woman rode with me for the first five and smiled at me when she got out. I smiled back.

At the top I got out and looked around the vacant floor for the emergency exit. It was on the north wall. 'Alarm will sound'. I pushed it open, hearing the klaxon echo through the building. No time to lose. Five stairs, turn, five more. Another steel door, unmarked this time. I emerged into the open air, feeling an unexpected chill. It wasn't windy on the ground, and I hadn't felt the need to wear a jacket.

I saw the closest edge, took a step and then another. Ran, full-tilt. Couldn't stop to look down, that was always the mistake. Sometimes you just have to go for it, right?

I jumped up on the ledge and pushed off, out into space. For an instant, it felt like launching off of a diving platform, ten metres of water below to wrap me up and catch me. For an instant.

After that I saw the pavement below, and the only thing I felt then was cold, hysterical fear as I realized several things all at once.

Clearly I hadn't thought this through enough, contrary to what I'd thought. Clearly I was not ready for this. Clearly twelve stories was very high and there was no chance of my survival. None.

My arms were spread out as if in flight; I was skydiving without a parachute. My eyes wouldn't close. I was falling so fast, but so very slow that there was plenty of time for several last thoughts.

Someone would see this happening, would dream about it for the rest of their lives and wake up in a cold sweat nightly for the next week. Dreaming every detail.

My spine would be crushed. My organs would be unrecognizable mush. Blood would squirt from my orifices as I landed spread-eagled on the concrete. There would be an audible crunch of bones as I hit the pavement at terminal velocity with a wet thud, like a raw steak hitting the kitchen floor. And someone would be left behind to remember that. What a selfish exit, I realized. And I probably wouldn't feel anything, I would probably have a heart attack before I ever hit the ground.

I wanted to grow white wings and pull out of my swan dive, but it would never happen. The upward breeze pricked my cold, bare arms like a hundred hot needles and my eyes watered.

I was right there now, I could see my own death. The panic was all-consuming and I couldn't look away. The helpless, crushing fear drove out the rest of my thoughts, my chest felt suddenly like a knife had gone through it, and there was a vacuum, so briefly. And in that cold, white nothing, in the last milliseconds of my lifetime...

I saw God.


A/N: I'm all about the feedback. FYI, my university has a twelve- or thirteen-storey library tower. Call it inspiration if you will.